We did not commit any crime - Sarath Fonseka
Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, the
former Army Commander who commanded the troops to defeat the LTTE in
2009, prefers a domestic mechanism to inquire into the alleged
violations of human rights and humanitarian law violation mentioned in
the UNHRC report. He says ‘transparency is required’ in any court to
clear the name of Sri Lanka against such allegations. Field Marshal
Fonseka says he is ready to go before any court because his conscience
is clear and knows that he did the right thing.
Field Marshal Sarath
Q: The UNHRC report on Sri Lanka proposed to have a hybrid
court to inquire into the alleged war crimes and the human rights and
humanitarian law violations during the conflict in Sri Lanka. Do you
agree with this?
A: The hybrid court has been recommended by the UNHRC. But
what we hear now is that US is going to present a different report
recommending a domestic mechanism. The US sponsored Resolution has
already been tabled. The Government of Sri Lanka has agreed to it and I
also personally agree to a domestic mechanism. Of course foreign experts
can be there as observers so that there will be transparency.
Q: Why do you prefer a local mechanism with foreign observers
to conduct such inquiries?
A: In any case if there are human rights violations even the
existing local law is good enough to punish anybody. But the
international community has its own reservations and they have made
their observations. So we will have to conduct these inquiries with more
responsibility because transparency is vital to clear our name.
Q: There were many inquiries on these allegations by the Sri
Lanka Army and other local mechanisms. Don’t you think that those
inquiries were enough to find what exactly had happened and who was
responsible for those alleged incidents?
A: The international community and the UN does not believe
that these investigations were conducted properly. That is the problem.
There was no transparency. They have not been able to convince the
international community that the inquiries were justifiable.
Q: Whatever the mechanisms, finally it will be the military
personnel who will have to go before these courts. Do you agree ?
A: If there are any allegations we have to defend ourselves
through our lawyers. As per the UNHRC report the allegations are not
only against military personnel. There are allegations against certain
government officials as well..
Q: The UNHRC report mentions about alleged war crimes, human
rights and humanitarian law violations by the Sri Lanka Army. As the
former Army Commander do you agree that war crimes were committed?
A: The Sri Lanka Army never committed war crimes as a whole.
We followed the International conventions and rules and regulations. So,
we did not commit war crimes. If there is credible evidence to say that
an individual who went against my orders and committed war crimes, no
one can say there should be no inquiry.
If there is credible evidence we have to conduct inquiries. I take
the responsibility for the conduct of the Army but it doesn’t mean that
I will be answerable to all the people. That is not practical.
Q: Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had proposed the
Government to reject the UNHRC report. What is your view?
A: He is only a MP now. The President, the Prime Minister and
the Cabinet will decide what is to be done. MP Mahinda Rajapaksa tried
to gain political mileage in the South by making use of this issue.
He is trying it now as well. MP Rajapaksa should stop talking
nonsense because he was the one who invited the UN Secretary General to
Sri Lanka and signed an agreement to conduct an international inquiry.
So now how could he say that such an such inquiry should be rejected.
Q: You said that you were ready to go before any court to
justify the Sri Lankan situation. Do you share the same sentiments now
A: I am ready to go before any court because my conscience is
clear. I know I did the right thing. We did not commit any crime, so we
are not scared.
Q: Finally who will be responsible if there were any war
crimes committed ?
A: I will take the responsibility for conducting the war and
winning it. If someone had committed war crimes he or she is
accountable. I will not be responsible for any such person.